Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - BC

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - BC

February 17, 2009 19:19 ET

Budget '09 Fails to Recognize Recession Realities: CUPE

Liberal plan does little to address needs of ordinary British Columbians, says union

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 17, 2009) - With Budget 2009, the BC Liberal government has not only missed an opportunity to correct past mistakes but has failed to recognize there's a recession going on, the Canadian Union of Public Employees said today.

"The government says it's making it a priority to help families in need. But this is not a Budget that's going to help ordinary people weather the storm of economic upheaval over the next year or more," said CUPE BC president Barry O'Neill.

O'Neill said the government's claim of spending increases in education and social services is misleading.

"When homelessness will be more of a crisis than ever, the Budget shows a $90-million decrease for BC Housing. With families bearing the brunt of recession, the government is cutting staff from Children and Family Development. How is that progress?" he asked.

Other cuts noted by O'Neill:

- Funding for Health Authorities will be cut by $25 million, forcing them to find these cuts from administration and support services;

- The mountain pine beetle strategy is being cut by 10 per cent;

- StudentAid BC funding has decreased, meaning that unemployed young people will have less support to return to school;

- No funding is being provided to help universities deal with the crisis of deferred maintenance for older buildings;

- Funding increases for the school board sector will not cover increased costs, so school boards are being asked to cut administrative costs. In the past that has meant cuts in support staff.

"When the recession hit Ontario enrolment in post-secondary education went up dramatically. There will be no room for that here. Full time enrolment projections have not increased since last year," he said.

The BC Liberals also have the distinction of being the first government in Canada to announce a wage freeze for public employees. "Public employees are being asked to pay for the recession," said O'Neill.

Contact Information

    Barry O'Neill
    (604) 340-6768
    CUPE Communications
    Dan Gawthrop
    (604) 999-6132